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January Recollections

Hello! It’s been about a month since our trade show filled January and while I already posted a wrap-up of the first half here, I have yet to fill you in on the second leg of the fiber filled journey. Yarn shops everywhere flock to The National NeedleArts Association winter trade show (known simply as TNNA) to get a glimpse of what’s new in the world of yarn (we introduced our spring yarns and the Building Blocks pattern book by Michelle Hunter). But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Karin and I flew back from NYC exhausted and inspired. It was an incredible busy show for us, introducing the new addi Click Lace Long Tip set and putting on two fashion shows. We formed the smallest knitting group known to man and kept an eye on the unusual Seattle forecast…

To distract myself from weather related turbulence, I dove headlong into a graphic novel series called Y: The Last Man. I squealed with delight when I saw one of the toughest characters knitting!

When Y (the last man) gave her grief about her feminine hobby she replied that knitting needles, as we all know, are plenty dangerous…

Upon landing, we were hit with a surreal scene. Oppressive Pacific NW gray had given way to cold white, and for the next 24 hours even simple errands became monumental events. Seattle isn’t quite equipped to handle snowfall, as I would learn the next day…

This is me at the start of my trek to Phoenix, a bit underdressed, but well-layered and excited to head to a state I’d never visited before.

And this is my coworkers and me, coming to terms with multiple cancelled flights…

When I learned that we were stuck for at least 6 hours, I did what any self-respecting polish addict would do. I headed straight for the Butter London salon in Concourse C! I’m normally a DIY kinda girl, so it was a treat to have someone else do my nails. This is olive green Wallis with a topcoat of West End Wonderland. I called this my Money Mani, since it had all the colors of American money: green cash and silvery, coppery coins. Knitting in public all day is so much more fun when you have blingtastic nails like these.

When we finally got a flight out, it was headed for Long Beach, California. Which would have been great last year (TNNA used to be held in Long Beach), but this year it meant that we had to rent a car near midnight and drive through the night to get to Phoenix on time to set up our booth. GOOD TIMES!

We had burgers and french fries at an unseemly hour and brainstormed names for a new product. The dark desert landscapes were totally lost on our delirious group and around 6 a.m., we rolled into Phoenix.

We set up the booth in a bit of a fog, but when we came back the next day were were all really pleased with our Seattle inspired Skacel Fiber Market (which came complete with produce, crabs and Artfelt flying fish).

The rest of TNNA was kind of a blur! A very fun, friend-filled blur, with plenty of breaks for wonderful and odd meals like this one, an upscale TV dinner:

There were new friends (the adorable Ravelry babies):

Amazing knits (Michelle Hunter’s spectacular tights):


And before I knew it, it was over. I have a time tested way of staving off the post-show blues, and it involves a decadent pre-flight beverage and a stack of magazines, some silly and some skill-building.

As you can see, it’s quite the whirlwind. We returned revived from seeing old friends and getting a dose of sun, minds full of ideas for JUNE…


Year of the Dragon

According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the Year of the DRAGON. According to Pantone, this is also the year of Tangerine Tango, a vibrant shade that blends the most energetic qualities of pink, red and orange. The pairing somehow seems fortuitous…

The year is supposed to be one full of powerful energy and productivity. What an inspiring forecast! I’m helping the mystical Dragon along by attacking my personal resolutions with vigor. Yarn is my life, and here at Skacel, we ADORE a strong red. I didn’t have to search very hard to find a gorgeous selection of this elusive but incredibly dynamic shade. Pictured above, clockwise from left: HiKoo Simpliworsted in #16 Gypsy Red, Zitron Filisilk in #3004 Red, Schulana Cashmere Moda in #5, Schulana Kid Seta #7 Burnt Orange, HiKoo Timidity in Gypsy Red/Milk Chocolate, Zitron Nimbus in Tomato, Zitron Unisono Solid in #1159, HiKoo Simplicity in Ghost Chili, Schoppel-Wolle Zauberwolle in #1701 Ombre.

I hope this pile of glowy goodness is inspiring. I think I have just enough time to whip up a Twin Cities Headband before VK Live in NYC. It’s sure to be cold, and I’d love to broadcast my color obsession and keep warm at the same time. If you spot me wearing it, come and say hello and I might have a surprise for you…


In Lieu of Snow

I am heading into my first winter here in Seattle, and I must say, I miss snow! It could be the visual thrill of a sparkling expanse of clean white, or the noise dampening effects of a fresh blanket of cold powder. It could be the fun of trudging through suddenly silent woods, or the cozy feeling of being trapped indoors while a storm rages outside.

I recently designed a simple cowl that could be knit in one snowbound evening. It calls for 4 balls of Schulana Cortina Nuvole, a yarn that reminds me of freshly fallen snow–soft, fluffy and light. Download the free Columbia Cowl pattern here.

I’ll be heading back East to celebrate the holidays with family, and I’m crossing my fingers for some snowfall. Until then I’ll content myself with holiday nail varnishes and my Yuletide board on Pinterest…

Hope your winter is looking magical wherever you are…


The Winners’ Circle

The first Progressive Needles Knit-Along project is done! The Triplicity Shawl is an adorable skill-building shawlette knit with HiKoo Simplicity, a soft, washable DK-weight yarn that comes in a wide range of over 50 solid shades and nearly a dozen multicolor options.

Playing along with the KAL means that you get a free pattern with lots of in-depth tutorials by Michelle Hunter, but it also means PRIZES! We offer weekly prizes by hiding clues on our websites. Anyone can play, but to qualify for the monthly prizes, you have to knit-along and send us pictures of your finished projects. Learn more here, and check out our October winners:

KAL Winners

1st Place goes to Rose Weckesser of Columbus, OH (upper left). She wins a set of Turbo Clicks and she purchased her KAL yarn from Knitting Temptations in Dublin, OH.

2nd Place goes to Loretta Magers of Prospect, OH (upper right). She wins a Skacel Goody Bag and she purchased her KAL yarn from Spin a Yarn Fiber Garden in Marion, OH.

3rd Place goes to Miriam Yarnall of Dayton, OH (middle left). She wins a Skacel Goody Bag and she purchased her KAL yarn from Fiberwild in Galena, IL.

4th Place goes to Dagmar Eriksson of Ortonville, MI (middle right). She wins a Skacel Goody Bag and she purchased her KAL from Beyond the Rainforest in Grand Blanc, MI.

5th Place goes to Abby Mroczenski of Des Plaines, IL (lower left). She wins a Skacel Goody Bag and she purchased her KAL yarn from Mosaic Yarn Studio in Des Plaines, IL.

I know that the second project is already underway. To catch up with the KAL, visit Michelle’s blog.



I recently moved into a new house. Moving twice in one year, not very fun. Getting my very first dedicated crafting space? Extremely fun! The very first thing I did was unpack my most used, most loved craft books. I usually arrange by height, but this time I tried something new, something borrowed from one of my favorite yarn shops, Purl Soho. Even though I’m 3000 miles away, I consider it an LYS. They arrange their yarn chromatically and I really love the effect that sorting method has on my books:

I always love getting a peek at other people’s bookshelves, so I thought you might like to take a peek at mine. Some of my current and/or enduring favorites:

What are some of your favorites?

Cold Weather Knits

From autumnal sweaters to wintery woolens, take a closer look at recently published patterns that call for yarns distributed by Skacel. Click on each photo to get more details.

Autobahn by Kate Gilbert, knit in Zitron Nimbus. Pattern available in Twist Collective, Fall 2011

Ramona Cowl by Melissa Lemmons, knit in Austermann Step Classic & Schoppel Wolle Zauberball. Pattern available in Knitscene Winter 2011.

Kent by Katya Wilsher, knit in Zitron Gobi. Pattern available in Twist Collective Fall 2011.

Ribbon Cable Cardi by Helen Sharp, knit in Schulana Kid-Seta and Zitron Ecco. Pattern available in Vogue Knitting Fall 2011.

Brier Toque by Cecily Glowick MacDonald, knit in Schoppel Wolle Zauberball Crazy. Pattern available in Weekend Hats.

Gathered Collar Pullover by Katya Frankel, knit in Schulana Sumerino and Schulana Kid-Seta. Pattern available in knit.wear 2011.

Watercolor Beret by Carol J. Sulcowski, knit in Schoppel Wolle Zauberball. Pattern available in Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2011.

Friendly Grey by Jutta Buecker, knit in Zitron Mistral & Zitron Nimbus. Pattern available in Knitty #37 Deep Fall 2011.

Snowfall Sweater by Jill Draper, knit in Schulana Cortina Nuvole. Pattern available in Interweave Knits Fall 2011.

Nordic Mittens by Lone Smevik Soleng, knit in Schulana Cashmere Fino. Pattern available in Vogue Knitting Fall 2011.

What will be first on your needles?…



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